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Posts Tagged ‘King James Bible’

In the Beginning

May 6, 2013 | by


In the Year of Our Lord, 2000, I was a freshman at the University of Chicago. Come the (locally) famous scavenger hunt, I was charged by older residents of Breckinridge House with the task of transcribing, by hand, the entire Oxford English Dictionary. I regret to inform you that my efforts didn’t garner our team many points. But it did give me a unique appreciation for the achievements of Phillip Patterson.

Phillip Patterson, you see, has hand-written a copy of the King James Bible. And more than that, it’s a work of art. Says the Los Angeles Times,

A 63-year-old resident of Philmont, N.Y., a town near the Massachusetts border, may be an unlikely scribe for the Bible. He is not especially religious, for one thing, though he does go to church. A retired interior designer whose battles with anemia and AIDS have often slowed his work, he began the monumental task mostly out of curiosity.

In 2007, Patterson’s longtime partner, Mohammed, told him about the Islamic tradition of writing out the Koran by hand. When Patterson said that the Bible was too long for Christianity to have a similar tradition, Mohammed said, well, he should start it.

The project took him four years. See more images of Patterson’s transcription, documented by Laura Glazer, here.



“Psalm 139”

January 7, 2013 | by

If you grew up going to church, you already know Psalm 139. Even if you didn’t, parts of it are floating around your brain. It is a favorite of pro-life people, because it talks about God recognizing us in the womb, taking care of us, and knowing how we’ll turn out. (It is also—I’d bet money on this—the source of our hundred-year-old American expression “search me.”)

Psalm 139 gets my vote for being the most beautiful of the psalms in the King James version. The other day I happened to read it in French and it left me cold—it conjured up surveillance—whereas the high-low diction of the King James translators sings and is intimate, because you would only sing this way to a God you loved: “If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there thy hand shall lead me.” It’s like an advertisement for the English language. Read More »